Cigarettes, rum and one man’s determination

Miguel Arias Sanchez

Today I’m going to quit smoking!  Illustration:

HAVANA TIMES — From experience and life itself, the negative influence that both cigarettes and rum have on people has been proven. The methods and techniques that have been used to minimize their effects are countless. There are thousands of anecdotes of all stripes and colors about people who have tried to give up one as well as the other and haven’t been able to.

I know because I’ve experienced it firsthand and thank god I don’t anymore. People, many people who justify their existence with the same excuse: I can’t give it up;… I’ve tried and I can’t; I feel really bad… In short, there are a never-ending list of excuses to continue smoking or drinking.

I also used to smoke and one day I said to myself: I wasn’t born with a cigarette in my mouth, it’s been over 20 years now and I haven’t smoked again, because I’m convinced, forgive me if you will, that people who don’t give it up, its quite simply because they don’t want to.

I know a man, a friend, who became a complete alcoholic for many years, a person who had a high level of education, a good career and extraordinary values. However, alcohol got a hold on him and practically destroyed him with the suffering that this entailed for his children, family, etc.

It was only a few weeks back that this man, a product of constant cigarette and rum consumption, suffered a sudden spike in blood pressure and he barely managed to survive, and he was pretty much already on the other side, but the doctors present and God’s hands were able to pull him back from Death’s grasp.

I imagine that the doctors would have warned him, but regardless of this, since the very day that he left the hospital, he hasn’t had one more swig and his smoking has been reduced to nearly zero. Since that very same day, he decided to put himself to the test and put a bottle filled with rum in front of his bed, with a line marked on it so that people could check and it’s still as it was when he bought it.

A man who had a bottle of rum for breakfast, lunch and dinner, has been recovering in such a way that he seems to be another person. His alcoholic friends visit him, call him and invite him out, but his response is blunt: no. And he is living proof to his family, neighbors and friends of just how the human being, when it sets a goal, is able to get where it wants and what he/she wants.

Today, he has been slowly returning our trust, esteem and respect for him, those of us who know him and admire his determination, courage and especially his willpower to turn his life upside down and be the man we love and respect.

Miguel Arias

Miguel Arias Sánchez: I was born in Regla in 1949. That’s where I went to elementary and high school. Afterwards I took courses to be a teacher and did that for several years. I did my military service and as soon as I got out I studied formally to be a teacher graduating at the University of Havana. I taught in classrooms for nearly 20 years. I had the opportunity to travel and see another reality. I returned and am currently doing different self-employed activities.

One thought on “Cigarettes, rum and one man’s determination

  • December 23, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    Those many in these pages who worship the memory of Fidel Castro as an oppressive dictator of the Cuban people, will be glad to note that I for one, do not hold him responsible for tobacco addiction as he was an addict himself, not only of tobacco but of arrogant power and control over others.

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